Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator

 

The Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator is an incredibly versatile insulated jacket that is wind and water resistant but with enough stretch to make it flattering and supremely comfortable – warm enough to be worn as a top layer but light enough to double up as a mid-layer, it really is the perfect piece for any high intensity activity.

 

Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator

 

We’ve come across Helly Hansen’s LIFALOFT before, this time last year we tried the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket so we were pretty confident the Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator was going to be good but, honestly, nothing really prepares you for the loveliness of this jacket.

 

LIFALOFT is a modern take on the down jacket and with it Helly Hansen have completely reset expectations.  The result is a jacket that is warm but breathable, insulated without being bulky and fitted but with enough stretch to allow for a full range of movement and, as if that was not enough, it is lightweight and water repellent too.

 

 

The team at Helly Hansen are pretty excited by LIFALOFT and with good reason, it is the result of four years hard work with the Swedish Ski Team developing a solution which uses PrimaLoft’s expertise in synthetic insulation combined with their LIFA fibre technology.  PrimaLoft’s synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material was first developed for the United States Army in the 1980s and Helly Hansen has combined it with their own LIFA fabric and, ta da, LIFALOFT is the result.  It has a 20% lighter fibre structure than polyester fibres and traps more air, which results in greater warmth. Put that together with Helly Hansen’s LIFA fabric to ensure moisture is moved away from the body, in a unique quilted design, with added stretch and a down proof fabric and you have absolute perfection.

 

Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator

 

It has been cold enough to allow us to really test the Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator and we can confirm that it is a wonderfully warm option, but it is when you step up the intensity and start working up a sweat that it really comes into its own.  You don’t have to be planning a trip to the Alps to really enjoy this jacket, any adventure will do and while it works perfectly as a top layer, it is also light enough to wear as a mid-layer if the conditions dictate.  It really is an impressive bit of kit in terms of breathability, plus the wind and water resistance and we loved that we could wear a helmet over the hood if necessary when out on the mountain bike.

 

The fit of the Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator is figure skimming and therefore flattering – especially so for a jacket that is so warm – the elasticity of the fabric, combined with articulated arms and fleece backed side panels allows for complete freedom of movement, while being easily stylish enough to wear out to a coffee shop or for a cheeky apres-ski drink. 

 

It is beautifully finished too with lycra edging to the cuffs and hood.  The pockets are deep, secure and designed to warm the hands, thank you Helly Hansen, we have really appreciated that.  In fact the attention to detail is so exquisite that they have even included a chest pocket which preserves the battery life of your phone… yes really!  The “Life Pocket” keeps your phone twice as warm as a traditional ski jacket thus preserving its charge.  The full length zip, in a contrasting colour, has an insulated strip behind it to protect the body from wind, and when the conditions are really poor, you can close the bottom by means of an elasticated drawstring at the hem.

 

If you believe there is no such thing as bad weather then the Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Stretch Insulator is an investment piece which will enhance almost any adventure.  Incredibly versatile, warm, breathable, stretchy and lightweight, we cannot find enough superlatives to describe it so we have just awarded a rare 10 out of 10 for both performance and value and almost don’t want summer to come.  

 

Sizes: XS-XL

Colours: Charcoal

Price: RRP £220

Weblink: www.hellyhansen.com lifaloft-hooded-stretch-insulator

 

Performance: 10/10 (and we are not alone, we note that every review on the Helly Hansen website gives this jacket full marks!)

Value for money: 10/10

 

Tested by Jan Birkmyre

 

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